As we prepare to paint Manchester with vibrant colours and celebrate our communities at this year’s Pride event, let’s make our wellbeing and sexual health a priority. We want to ensure your Manchester Pride experience is unforgettable & enjoyable while being as safe as possible. Here are some top tips for the long weekend!
1. Stay Hydrated and Celebrate Responsibly:
Raise your progress flag high and party with pride, but remember to stay hydrated. Enjoy the festivities, however remember that alcohol and drugs can cloud your judgment or behaviour or even make you feel invincible. Make sure you’ve had enough food and keep a bottle of water handy – you don’t want to run out of energy before the Parade is over! Keep the spirit alive while taking care of your body and mind.
2. Safer Sex Packs:
Celebrate passion and pleasure in all its forms while taking care of your sexual health. Safer sex packs containing condoms and lube are readily available for you throughout the Gay Village. Whether you’re connecting with someone new or enjoying the company of a regular partner(s), these packs are your companions in practicing better, wetter and safer sex.
3. Open Communication with Partners:
Queer love knows no boundaries, and neither should communication. Openly discuss your desires, boundaries, and expectations with your partners. Consensual and respectful conversations ensure that everyone’s having a great time while feeling comfortable and respected. Check out https://lgbt.foundation/news/consent-do-you-get-it/432 for more.
4. Look Out for Each Other:
In this diverse and united community, we look out for one another. If you notice someone who might need assistance or support, extend a helping hand and look out for their wellbeing. The Village Angels will be out in their hi-vis finery to offer support, find them at the entry gates over the weekend if you need help.
5. Resources and Support:
For valuable advice and support, turn to the LGBT Foundation and PaSH social media and websites @lgbtfdn @gmpash. These platforms offer a wealth of information about sexual health, relationships, and general wellbeing. Let’s empower ourselves with knowledge and take control of our health.
6. Stay Informed About Mpox and STIs:
Very small numbers of mpox cases have been reported in Greater Manchester. Stay informed about the symptoms and continue to work together as a community. Awareness is key to prevention. If you notice any symptoms, don’t hesitate to access a sexual health service. See https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mpox/ for more and advice. The NHS in Greater Manchester has been working to step-up its vaccination programme to meet any unmet demand and can offer a limited service whilst more vaccination clinics are re-established. This will ensure people considered at high risk of getting mpox can protect themselves and others from severe illness. We would urge people not to worry as cases remain low across the country. Clinics will be advertised on the national mpox vaccine finder site: Find an mpox vaccination site – NHS (www.nhs.uk). If you are concerned about symptoms, please contact a sexual health clinic.
If you’re having sex over the weekend, talk to your partner(s) about how they protect themselves and when you were last tested. Even if it’s casual fun it’s a good idea to keep contact details just in case people need to know if they may have been exposed to mpox or another STI.
Remember to test regularly for STIs with a sexual health clinic or book with us at lgbt.foundation/testing. We also have drop in full sexual health screenings 12pm-6pm on Thursday 24th August, 12-5pm on Monday 28th August and Wednesday 30th August 12pm-4pm at LGBT Foundation, Fairbairn House, 72 Sackville Street, Manchester, M1 3NJ.
7. Be PrEPared & Access PEP if you need it!
If you’re on PrEP, don’t forget to take it. If you might stay out late, do you need to take your next dose out with you? If you think you should be on PrEP and haven’t accessed it yet we have a PrEP initiation clinic the second Monday of every month 1.30pm-4pm upstairs at G-A-Y Manchester on canal street.
If you have unprotected sex and may have been at risk of HIV exposure you may be eligible to access PEP https://lgbt.foundation/pep it needs to be started within 72 hours and ideally as soon as possible, so if your sexual health clinic is closed over Pride Weekend you can access it at A&E.
By celebrating responsibly, embracing safer sex practices, communicating openly, and looking out for one another, we can create an atmosphere of joy, respect, and empowerment. As we shine a light on our diversity, let’s also remember that our health and wellbeing shine just as brightly. Let’s make this Pride a testament to our commitment to a safe and inclusive community.